Thursday, 1 April 2010

Making The Cut

When I began climbing I was a pretty weak character. I was working in a boring job, drinking a lot and moving in murky circles. Climbing at the time was simply something a bit different for me to do every now and then almost something to make me realise I was actually alive. Then I did my first proper winter route and I woke up from the losers sleep I had been in. The next wake up call came when an old lad at my work retired, he had been there since school, saved his cash, hardly any holidays or sick days and he was proud of this I heard people speak of this as if it was a life well lived and it horrified me. He got 2 months retirement before he dropped dead in the garden..........I quit the following week and haven't had a serious job since.

On my first winter route, Ben Nevis. Pic-Rob Jarvis , Highland Guides.

After this I pretty much committed myself to a life less ordinary and pursuing full time climbing was the perfect excuse to avoid the soul crushing 9-5 living for the weekend crap I had been doing. I was naive to think at that time that I understood commitment. I spent a couple of years trying to climb hard and learn what I could then I read 'Kiss or Kill' by Mark Twight. This book has changed my life without a shadow of a doubt. I learned to accept what I was becoming by reading this and also began to understand ,even embrace it. It forced me to face up to my being selfish and ruthless but not to be ashamed of it but to use it to good effect. The main point I took from it was what he called 'The attitude of the knife' , cutting away all that holds us back. I took to this new attitude like I couldn't believe. Getting rid of everything that was holding me back at the time and I revelled in it's brutal coldness.

In the winter of 2005 I took the cutting attitude to a new level and one that finally marked a point where I was crossing a line and giving into climbing. I went on a trip to Austria and while climbing with my prosthetic I realised that a digit on my disabled hand was catching inside my cast. As soon as I returned home I had an operation to have it removed. This confirmed to me that if I can go so far as to have digits removed then climbing was what I really wanted in life. There is very little left in my life from my pre-climbing days....................


  1. Think the smile in the pic says alot about that transition.

  2. Your right there Dave, probably one of the very few wise choices I've made :)

  3. One of the only times I've heard Kiss or Kill mentioned in the Scottish climbing scene... it's an incredible collection. 'Twitching' is all you need for some get-up-n-go. Great to see someone also finding value in that book.